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An Anarkeyology of Social Geography-- Elisee Reclus, Feneon The New Extreme Experimental Poetry & "Faits Divers de la poesie"

Inspired by the anonymous "Faits Divers" which for 6 months in 1906 appeared in the French daily Le Matin, a new anonymous collective has launched its own blog of creative "Faits Divers."

The collective's "Faits Divers" are epigrammatic and satiric "news briefs" of "real fictions" and "fictive realities" of events and persons in the Anglo-American-Canadian poetry worlds.

The satiric element is signaled in the mangled French words and spellings of the blog's name, as perhaps a deliberate--or not?--"allusionary mocking" of the conventional comic mispronunciations of "frawn-say" by Anglo-American-phone
Non-French speakers.

In the examples below of the collective's work, one may note a number of reiterated images, like figures seen in recurring dreams (or nightmares)
the explicatory
of the predominance of the themes and imagery of fire and nakedness
which run through many of these entries like so many streakers heading for a fire sale--
there to re-clothe themselves in the Emperor's New Clothes of Significant Significations of
the commodity fetishism &
the vanity of poets arrested
for shoplifting the Name Recognition
of Recognized Name Brand Name Tags
and receiving the New Sentence
of Life
without Parole
in the Lacanian Mirror stages --
with an additional and concurrent term
of Sentencing to the Post New Sentence
d'une Langue sans la Langue
(a "Language/Tongue without a Language/Tongue")

Here then sampling of the "hi-jinx of the high-brows" of the “Faits Divers de la poesie---“

At 5 o’ clock in the evening, M. Bernstein and Mme Kim were eating croquets in a café in Clichy. The roof fell in and a stove blew up. They were singed and naked, but otherwise fine. The avant-garde goes on.

“Your Honor, a person who professes, gives readings, attends conferences, and hosts poetry parties must have a wardrobe!” shouted Mlle Reyes, defending her 4,000 pairs of shoes. Grimly, the jury looked on.

The bastard has stolen my shirt! screamed M. Kimball, staggering naked through the street. In his hand, held aloft like a flag, were his pantaloons. One month for public indecency.

Naropa has burned to the ground! But only after Mlle Waldman and fourteen followers fanatically held out, firing from the windows, to the ten thousand directions.

All our best salutations to this new blog and its anonymous Scribes, who do, indeed, use the blog template called Scribe.

An Anarkeyology of Social Geography-- Elisee Reclus, Felix Feneon and the destruction of the State, Mainstream and Instituional Specilized Media Infrastructures

What follows are some questions that came to mind and in no way are to be understood as a “developed and final” critique or a lack of humor –as the Feneon Collectives “Faits Divers” are very funny—

My comments are basically provisional as they are written from a particular perspective which is pretty much being improvised along the way, using what is Found, and not what one is “seeking for”—

Paul Celan makes a profound distinction when he writes (in French) that “Poetry no longer imposes itself, it exposes itself.”

One works, then, from what one finds exposed as one goes along, rather than imposing ahead of time the confining and blinding narrowness of definitions and categories for things which one does not yet know, is only now finding----in this moment, as archeologist now work with taphonomy, the study of things in their present state, so an Anarkeyologist goes along among the things found in “The most beautiful world (is) a heap of rubble tossed down at random/in confusion” as Heraclitus put it.

These comments then are written within the ongoing context of my own made up/factually existing genre, “The New Extreme Experimental American Poetry & Arts,” in which the original dual/dueling means of the “avant-garde” are rejoined with their military meaning to extend the analysis of poetry and the arts as an examination of the effects of the Wars and Patriot Act, the now Open American use of torture, rendition flights, secret prisons here and aboard, the explosion of the number of citizens and “aliens” thrown into ever worse prison conditions, the support of Apartheid, the massive dissemination of disinformation coupled with extensive censorship, the ever dwindling narrowness of the “open debates” on may subjects, the unquestioning acceptance of fabrications , forgeries, mythologies as Truths—the effects of al these on the uses of daily and poetic language, which Feneon’s “Faits Divers” are an inspiring and exemplary “hidden in plain sight” investigation of.

Paradoxically, the professed anonymity of the collective strikes one as the opposite of Feneon's in that it is "crying out" so to speak, or daring, to be recognized, by the milieu in and to which it is addressed.

In Feneon's anonymous daily pieces in a large circulation--and conservative--paper, the anonymity is not unlike that of the clandestine activities and writings of Feneon before he had been "unmasked in public" when on trial as one of the "Trial of Thirty," which received spectacular news coverage and forced the Bartleby-like aspirations of the Anarchist writer and critic into the media and public spotlight, the last place he would have liked to be, yet had knowingly run the risk of by his own actions in their melding of the "Propaganda of the Deed" with the "Propaganda of the Word."

In the "Faits Divers," the anonymous writer is able to carry on, "Hidden in Plain Sight," like Poe's Purloined Letter, his subversive critiques of the constructions and institutions of "Daily Life," an Anarchist critique from behind the scenes--or "mis-en-scene"-- of "Everyday existence" in a Great and Modern Civilization as Anarchical in itself, as demonstrated by the seemingly endless crime spree its citizens are embarked on.

One may read the "Faits Divers" as a Map and mapping of French daily life, a "social geography" of daily spaces as a "Critique of Everyday Life" initiated by the great Anarchist geographer Elisee Reclus, whose work anticipates that of Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau and the Situationists. Reclus, a Communard forced into exile in Switzerland, his fame as a geographer the only thing keeping him from being shipped to a prison colony, was fundamentally concerned with the power relations between the state and the individual which are expressed in everyday actions which take place in a "geography [which] is nothing but history in space."

Reclus' work was under a continual state of siege; repressed and suppressed in that he was attacking the main stream conventionalized "geography of landscape"
Institutionalized by the academic lions of the day such as Vidal de la Blache.

"Geography of the landscape" considers itself to be "the science of places and not people." It's attractiveness to the Institutional Mainstream's demand for Order is in its non-social immutability of a spatial stasis outside of the messing up and continual shifting of spaces created by the presences and daily lives of persons. Reclus counters this with his analyses, in which "Geography is not an immutable thing, It is made, it is remade every day; at each instant, it is modified by men's actions."

Reclus' analyses furnished the first studies in what is now known as "unequal development" within and of societies constructed by the violences of invasion, occupation and colonization. This analysis, when brought to bear on the inner struggles over social spaces within a "modern, civilized" society in the West such as France, can be seen in terms of Reclus' experiences lived during the period 1870-71 in Paris, during which, following the humiliating Prussian defeat of the Empire and the brutal, long siege of Paris, the Commune erupted and rapidly began creating a complete reorganizing of every space of daily life The two months of the initiation of a new form of society on the face of the earth was far to great a challenged not only to the French State, but for all the Western bourgeois States, who loudly cheered the extermination of Bloody Week, in which 20-25,000 men, women and children were slaughtered in the streets, and thousands more imprisoned and exiled.

Following this State Terror brought down without quarter on the "petroleuses" and "rabble " of the Commune, there followed the complete make over of huge areas of Paris, a transformation which included the massive destruction of the working class neighborhoods as well as their small businesses and artisan shops, as a method of literally erasing from historical memory this revolt against the "unequal development" of classes under the stifling construction of a new bourgeois social order and culture which refused to consider the Communards as even human beings.
These events alone give a violent and vivid demonstration of Reclus' social geography at work, in which the struggle is precisely in terms of the mutability of Reclus' work and its refutation of the static, unchanging Institutional Landscape of the Solid State of Entropy known as the attainment for all time of that Triumph, the "pinnacle of Civilization."

The International bourgeois and State media of the times, as Karl Marx analyses in his study of the Commune, created a horrifying image of blood thirsty, fanatical and ignorant Communards bent on burning down all that Civilization and its various Gods held dear, much like today's media saturated images of "terrorists" and "rebels" and "insurgents" reduce persons to beings "outside the pale of civilization and morality" in order to ignore all International Laws of Human Rights and bomb, burn, starve and torture the non-beings until they give up all their land and natural resources.

Read in terms of Reclus' social geography, Feneon's Anonymous Anarchist "Faits Divers" present, sardonically and laconically camouflaged as the entertaining divertissements of "diverse facts/events," a social geography of the power struggles of "every day people" within the bourgeois State' Institutions of families, the Church, the professions, the rural/urban shiftings of populations, and with the State, the non plus ultra of repression, bolstered and buttressed by all the other Institutions.

In terms of being an anonymous toiler in the bowels of the media machinery, Feneon is tossing greasy monkey wrenches into the gears, which appear ink smeared in print form "right before the reader's very eyes," as the mocking messenger of a widespread social geography of revolt against the media's Power. This mockery is found in Feneon's obsession with incidents of telephone and telegraph wire cuttings, destruct ions, interruptions in service. This seemingly nation wide spree of guerrilla warfare against the State, Mainstream and Institutional media remarked on in these anonymous notes is not unlike those "manuals for bomb making" that were churned out as anonymous little low-tech, low-fi pamphlets by clandestine presses and authors, producing via anonymous translations an International and highly mutable, volatile library of clandestine best sellers, the anonymous words and instructional diagrams bringing together, as do Feneon's "Faits Divers," the "Propaganda of the Word" and the "Propaganda of the Deed."

Read in this sense, as the production of notices of methods to attack and destroy the media hidden within that very media as "anonymous" "news items" which offer a camouflaged insight into these methods to incite the "cutting of" of the media's "power" cables and wire "connections," and "services" in the name of State control of social geographies, Fenoen's "Faits Divers" still carry those "explosive charges" which he was put on trial for, "charged" with the possession of detonators found in the closet of his room, which he had claimed were "found on the street" by his father, during an innocent stroll around Anarchist haunted Paris.

In a sense, the "Faits Divers," or "Faits dit Vers" or even "Faits d'hiver" of the Feneon Collective offer an example of one of then rapidly rising aspects of bourgeois society Reclus' analyses were dissecting. This is the increasing "specialization" of Western bourgeois Colonialist and Imperialist society and culture, in which the atomization and separation not only of "alienated labor," but also of the alienation of one discipline from another, allows for the Invisibility" as it were of the functioning of the whole to those involved in its construction and maintenance.

That is, a critique within one sphere imagines its critique is extensive to all others while at the same time remaining elite, separate, inviolable. and supposing its own "higher" existence is not itself enmeshed in the very machinations it purports to critique.

In this way are made possible the claims of any one sphere to”innocence" despite existing within a brutal State society which tortures, supports Apartheid, uses its morality and ethics to render others "evil." and endlessly celebrates its own self importance and self-obsessed culture.

From the "point of view" of Reclus and Feneon's work, the Feneon Collective's specialization announced in its rubric as "American and English Poetry" creates what may be thought of as the social geography of a space in which the function of the observer is to be also one or more of the observed, who is to remain "invisible" within this presentation of a world obsessed with it own appearances in terms of a continual self reflection it seeks to project on to the gaze of others, who will then be reflecting on one's own self importance also.

In a bizarre fashion, this is a world which is producing as it were a hydra-headed Big Brother, in which all eyes are looking at all others as being in themselves both Big Brother and one of those who love Big Brother.

The anonymous collective being a part of this self obsessed social geography of self obsessed selves uses its own anonymity as a kind of hinge, meaning that it is like a door that can swing both ways--that is--be both on the inside and the outside of that which it is presenting.

In terms of a social geography, the radical difference between the Collective and the poetry worlds it observes and Feneon is that in the former the specialization of the analysis remains within the sphere of its specialty. In a sense, the analysis remains "stuck" within the self reflecting activity of the sphere it is reflecting upon, so that the analysis becomes a form of "drawing attention to oneself," in the manner of the others whom it reflects and reflects upon.

It is this "Hall of Mirrors" which Reclus and Feneon refuse and resist in the extensions of social geography outwards from the self centeredness of citizens of self centered societies who see themselves as the Central Power in the World, which today, Americans loudly proclaim they indeed are, as "the world's one remaining Super Power."

The specialization of social geographies allows for the spheres within a society to observes themselves self centeredly, so that they are blind to their own connections with the extensions of self-centeredness in the Centralization of Institutional and State Power, which, being the One Super Power is the centralization of the worlds gaze on oneself, the center of the world.

Considering this discussion is taking place on blogs in the blogosphere, carried by the wires and cables Feneon is so interested in finding being cut down and hauled off for money perhaps at the junk heaps or simply to say Fuck You!! Get out of my life and bit of land—

One easily sees why he was anonymously conveying this hidden in plain site “insight to incite”
In the everyday appearing pages of every day events –
Those detonators just happening to be lying in the streets—
Not simply “literarily” but “literally”—
A potential the Feneon’s absurd claim masked as indeed the very fear of al the “Good Citizens of Paris”—
That al around them hidden in plain sight, were indeed detonators hidden in plain sight
Which someday might indeed begin to detonate—

The denial of the recognition of the extensions of social geography as interrelated actions taking place
“right here” and “all around the world,” or “elsewhere—
Produced via specialization and its alienating effects
Show themselves in the letter written by school children for the funeral of Alexis Grigoropoulos, fifteen year old, whose murder by the police ignited the country wide riots of the last weeks in Greece—

The specializations of the poetry world are not excluded from the social geography of the world, as the exclusive specialty with which it specializingly observes itself:

Where are the intellectuals and artists?
Why aren’t they outside to protect us?

YOUR CHILDREN--Alexis Grigoropoulos--Poem written by children for his funeral
This is a translation of a leaflet that was circulated at the funeral
of Alexis Grigoropoulos. It was written by school children:
We are not terrorists, yobs, thugs.
We are known, but still unknown.
We make dreams, don’t kill our dreams! We are impetuous, do not kill
our impetuosity!

Once you too were young.
Now you chase money, you only care for image, you got fatter and lost
your hair.
We expected that you would support us.
We expected that you will show some interest, that for once you will
make us proud.
You live fake lives, you have bended your heads down, you have dropped
your trousers and you are waiting for the day you will die.
Where are our parents?
Where are the intellectuals and artists?
Why aren’t they outside to protect us?

The death of a fifteen year old –a “Faits Divers” usually ignored as the murder of just another Palestinian “terrorist”
Or “some kid in the Hood,”—
As Feneon sees the possibility of, ignites a people against the state, the family, the high culture, the materialism and Institutions, against everything which is “killing us.”


(I.E. the "Children of Paradise" who are in English the Peanut Gallery audience in the cheapest seats high up and in the back of the balcony in a theater or old cinema—the great classic French film “Les Enfants du Paradis” was one of the touchstones in Guy Debord’s development of his personal mythos and also in the analyses which led to the creation of the Situationist International.)

These pieces are, for me, as a former journalist who wrote the quasi-anonymous weekly capsule film listings reviews, as Feneon's “Faits Divers” in their “short stories” sense are, one of the improvised genres one invents when toiling in the inky, smudged, and blotted depths of a writing closer to "Police Blotters" than verse, so I am calling them "Faits dit vers" ("Facts called verse") rather than "Faits Divers."

(That is, via a pun, opening up the existences of other writings, genres, living their doubled and doubling double lives, within al these doublings of the “Faits Divers” of Feneon, one’s own included--

(Since they are appearing in Winter, one may also call them perhaps "Faits d'hiver.")

These are not "Faits Divers" in the newspaper sense & usage of the term, which requires the inclusion of the names, ages, gender, and if known, profession/s of the person/s involved in the incident reported, as well as the time, date and place when and where the incident occurred, and what the outcome and/or consequences of the event is known to be at the time the "Faits Divers" go to the press for that day's latest edition.

With these all requirements kept in mind, and considering how much space in the three lines of the "Faits Divers" they take up, one may see what constraints Feneon was writing within. In effect, he had very little "room" or "space" in which to interject the few words of his own choosing, which themselves are determined in part by the choices Feneon has made in the syntactical and grammatical arrangements of the sentences.

These "dictates" of the "Faits Divers'" constraints imposed by the "hack job" of their composition are actually quite close to the tenets of one of the founding (retrospectively, via Baudelaire and later Mallarme) documents of French Symbolist poetry, Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition" and also his "Poetic Principles."

Poe himself was, like Feneon, an editor, a reviewer, a supplier of stories which play with/pun with the dual nature of "stories" published in "NEWS" media of being at once a critique and a new creation out of the ambiguity of the news itself as "news stories," fictions created out of reported facts--or realities created via distorted facts?--
Poe had himself produced hoaxed "real events" and stories made out of ongoing real event, and these fictions were taken to be "the real, true story" and caused panics not unlike that created by Orson Welles famous Halloween broadcast of the radio play "The War of the Worlds," much of whose presentation is done as "breaking news" from "reporters at the scene."
Poe's inter-media-mixing of the journalistic genres of writing found in the daily papers with the realms of his own self-created fictions resulted in the creation of a whole new genre--the first modern, mathematical and analytical detective, Dupin,who uses the newspaper accounts of events of events as the elements of his analyses. Poe's Dupin tale "The Mystery of Marie Roget", was being written simultaneously with the ongoing tabloid frenzy of the murder of Mary Rogers, known as in the screaming headlines as "The Little Cigar Store Girl."

Poe advocates in his critical and theoretical writings that poems and "short stories" be indeed short, for their maximum effect to occur, and as well that the effect to be produced is the first consideration of the writer, who then works, as does Dupin, "backwards" in choosing the elements which will construct the poem or story most effectively and be the most tensilely strong at every point so that they all point their energies in the direction of the final denouement, the culminating effect . . .

the explosivisions of the explosivisages-
the expletives of explEdifications--
the explaintiffs of the explantations----

One may read in Feneon's "Faits Divers" the influences of Mallarme, Poe, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, LaForgue, popular black humor. and their all coinciding in their "effect to be produced" with Feneon's own Anarchist beliefs in the melding of the "Propaganda of the Deed" with that of the "Propaganda of the Word," in the "detonations" which Feneon was suspected of and tried for, with those of which Mallarme observed--that Feneon's words themselves were detonators.
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